24/6 Part One: The Fourth Commandment
- 24/6 Part Two: Jesus and the Sabbath
- 24/6 Part Three: Keeping the Sabbath – coming soon!
I recently finished reading Dr. Matthew Sleeth’s book, 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life published by Tyndale.
When I first came across this book, I was quite intrigued and knew I wanted to read it. The book is about the importance of keeping the Sabbath and resting on that day.
I began keeping the seventh day Sabbath in 1999 after discovering for myself that the Bible Sabbath was on Saturday not on Sunday as I had grown up believing. Keeping the Sabbath was life changing for me.
Anyway, I really loved this book by Dr. Sleeth. In all honesty, I didn’t agree 100% with everything he said. However, I loved so much about this book I wanted to share some of the profound quotes I came across.
The word Sabbath means “cease from working.” The concept is holy… the point is to stop on that day and look for God… for me the Sabbath is irrefutable proof that God is real.
All that we need to begin to “remember,” as the Fourth Commandment tells us. We must remember the why and how of a day of rest… “Remember the Sabbath: is how the longest of the Ten Commandments begins. p. 24-25
We don’t need to go far into the Bible to discover the origin of the Sabbath: it’s right there on the first page. p. 31
Unfortunately, most of society ignores the commandment to keep the Sabbath. It has been forgotten. God must have known we would forget. That’s why He began the commandment with the word “remember.” In our 24/7 world, how much more do we need that 24 hour period to come away and rest with God?
The first three commandments concern themselves with our relationship with God. The last six have to do with our dealings with each other… The Fourth Commandment is the longest and most inclusive of all ten… The sabbath commandment embraces the wealthy, the slave, and the illegal immigrant. It pertains to minimum-wage workers and to students. It covers animals. It includes children. The Fourth Commandment applies equally to men and women… It is to be followed by humanity, and it is observed by God himself… The covenant was like a marriage agreement between God and his people. p. 36 – 37
The Fourth Commandment calls us to a period of rest and like Dr. Sleeth so eloquently said, it covers everyone. We are not only responsible for our own keeping of the Sabbath, but for those around us, too. The Fourth Commandment includes our manservants and maidservants, even our animals! It also forbids buying and selling.
I believe, for example, that this means that even if my idea of resting would be to go out to eat so I didn’t have to worry about cleaning up dishes or preparing a meal, going to a restaurant on Sabbath is not what God desires of me during that time.
We intuit that the Ten Commandments are a good idea, and therefore laws against killing, stealing, or bearing false witness are still on the books in every state. But the business of the church also involves laws that apply only to those who willingly submit to them: love God, don’t worship idols, don’t take the Lord’s name in vain, remember the Sabbath, honor your mother and father.
It would be bizarre to have a pastor stand up and give a sermon proposing that we ditch these commandments. Yet many of us are effectively ripping these commandments from the pages of our Bibles. If we were truly understanding and acting upon the intent of the laws, there might be some justification for doing this, but let’s not kid ourselves. We’re not. p. 41
I highly recommend this book by Dr. Matthew Sleeth. Like I said, I didn’t agree with some of his premises, such as “It doesn’t really matter what day we rest, just that we take a day of rest each week.” I believe it did and does matter to God, otherwise why would he have chosen a specific day – the seventh day – to bless and make holy?
From the back of the book:
“Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”
It’s the only commandment that begins with the word remember—almost as if God knew we would forget.
Well, guess what?
And is it any wonder? Look around. Thanks to ever-improving technology, we now feel the pressure to be “on” twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Sure, things like smart phones, the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype help us stay connected with coworkers, family, and friends—but what about God?
How can we possibly have “ears to hear” when we are plugged in 24/7? If we never take time to “be still and know” God, how can we grow into mature spiritual beings?
The solution is simple. And it is endorsed by the Great Physician himself. In fact, he invented it. It’s called rest. And like all good things, rest is a gift from God.
Rest doesn’t just happen. It takes intentionality, commitment, and restraint. Yet the rewards are indescribably amazing.
In 24/6, Dr. Matthew Sleeth provides a life-giving prescription for a healthier, more God-centered life amidst a digitally crazed, always-on world and helps us better understand how our lives can be radically transformed—physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually—by adopting a 24/6 lifestyle.
24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life was an excellent read. I’ll be looking at Part Two next week! I hope you’ll join me!
If you’d like to read more about what I believe, here are a few of the articles I have written on this subject, part of the “If It Were Not So… Series”:
- A Forgotten Promise: Part One
- A Forgotten Promise: Part Two
- A Forgotten Promise: Part Three
- A Forgotten Promise: Part Four
- A Forgotten Promise: Part Five
- A Forgotten Promise: Part Six
Have you found that keeping the Sabbath has been a blessing to you? What ways do you make the Sabbath special?